ST. GEORGE – Maverick is not just a golden retriever—he’s the golden retriever of Randy Wilstead, the baseball coach of Pine View High School, and that makes him the golden retriever of the Pine View baseball team.
Pine View’s well-kept baseball field would not be complete without seeing Maverick running around chasing baseballs during practices. Wilstead said Maverick attends every practice.
“He knows what time it is. He’s always waiting by the door,” Wilstead said. “I trained him to be our Gestapo. He chases all the balls that get away.”
Maverick completed his task well at practice on Wednesday. He didn’t seem to bother the players either—several players made sure to pet Maverick as he approached them in the team circle.
Even though the Pine View Panthers had a tough start to the season, they have one fan supporting them no matter the circumstances. The Panthers started the season losing six of their first seven games. However, Pine View played its first six games against 5A schools and the power schools in 4A.
“We’re just a 3A team—we’re not even really a 4A team,” Wilstead said. “We’re out there not only playing 5A teams but the best of 5A.”
Starting next school year, the three 4A schools in Region 9—Pine View, Dixie High School and Snow Canyon High School—are moving back to 3A status.
Wilstead said there has been one factor he can attribute to Pine View’s early struggles this baseball season.
“The disappointment for us this year has been our pitching,” Wilstead said. “We’ve got the deepest pitching staff of anybody, but we’ve really had a hard go.”
Despite the struggles, Pine View has won four of its last six games. The bright spot during the streak is the coach’s son, senior Cole Wilstead. He’s torched the ball this season, going 3-4 with a double in his outing against Hurricane High School last week. That performance earned Cole Wilstead the Sports Radio 1210 AM player of the week honors. It’s gotten to the point where pitchers are afraid to come after him.
“Before yesterday’s game (against Snow Canyon), his last 15 at bats he’d been on base 14 times,” Randy Wilstead said. “A lot of those were walks. People are just walking him now.”
Cole Wilstead said patience is what has paid off for him when he’s at bat.
“A lot of the time I’ll start swinging at the pitcher’s pitch,” Cole Wilstead said. “Just staying in my zone has helped me a lot.”
Cole Wilstead has signed to go play baseball at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas next season. He represents the potential the Pine View baseball team has to break out and win a lot of games here in the second half of the season.
In a strange way, it’s a lot like what Maverick represents to the Pine View baseball team. Maverick comes to practice each day and completes his task of chasing lost baseballs around the field.
Randy Wilstead said once the pitching comes together he feels the team is unbeatable. The team will then be accomplishing its task of winning games.
“We’re slowly getting better,” Cole Wilstead said. “We’ll see down the home stretch, but as of right now I like where we’re sitting.”